Help Is Here Express' bus tour coming to Decorah - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Help Is Here Express' bus tour coming to Decorah


 DECORAH (KWWL) - Help is on the way for people having trouble affording prescription medicine in eastern Iowa.

The "Help is Here Express" bus tour will be in Decorah on Thursday, July 16, stopping at Winneshiek Medical Center to help uninsured and financially-struggling Iowans access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. The bus tour is part of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) - a nationwide effort sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies - raising awareness of patient assistance programs among residents who have been facing layoffs or a loss of health care benefits in a struggling economy. Additionally patients who visit the bus can also learn about new medicines in development to fight chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.  

To date, the PPA has helped more than 5.7 million patients, including more than 54,000 Iowans. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 2,500 cities to raise awareness about patient assistance programs.  The "Help is Here Express" is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured patients in need access information on more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.  When the "Help is Here Express" moves on, patients can visit PPA's easy-to-use Web site ( or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW) where trained operators field calls in 150 languages.

WHEN:           Thursday, July 16
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:        Winneshiek Medical Center
                      901 Montgomery Street

"At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades, the PPA has become an important lifeline for a growing number of patients," PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin said.  "Millions of Americans have been added to the jobless rolls over the last several  months and there could be a sharp increase in the number of our citizens losing health care benefits.''    

Tauzin added that the PPA is currently helping "thousands of people every day," including those who need treatments to fight such debilitating chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.  In Iowa alone, there are hundreds of thousands of cases of chronic diseases, according to the Milken Institute and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.  Nationwide, more than 133 million Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, which is responsible for 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention    

"With the number of people affected by chronic disease going up every year, and economists predicting that unemployment will continue to grow well into 2009, the PPA and its message of hope are now more relevant than ever," Tauzin said.  "No one - and I mean no one - is helped by a medicine that sits on the shelf and is out of reach financially.  In Iowa, we will continue to help folks all over the state for as long as the assistance is needed." 

In addition to stopping in Decorah on Thursday, the "Help Is Here Express" brought the Partnership for Prescription Assistance to Mason City, Sioux City, Le Mars, Storm Lake, Spencer, Fort Dodge, Boone, and Mason City earlier this week.

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